Tag Archives: rats

i’m tired of telling you how crappy this town is, so tonight i’m gonna show you

i’ve kind of had it today. i was going to blog (yesterday, but i got too tired) about all the special things holly did for my birthday (and all the wonderful facebook notes i got throughout the day, even the day before) but baltimore city has ruined things again. so instead i’m going to rant about our ghettoass neighborhood. specifically our alleyway.

if you have a weak stomach i suggest you stop reading now.

they say a picture’s worth a thousand words. and up until this point, i haven’t shown you photos of crap in/the antics of our shittyass neighborhood in order to protect our privacy. but alleyways are fairly anonymous.

so here you go:

trash_decaying rat

that’s the alley behind our house. about a week ago.

see that flat, rotting thing on the right? that’s a dead rat.
and that sewer right there? that’s a chesapeake bay water drain! like blue crabs? that’s what you’re eatin’, folks!

here’s what it looks like right now:


and you know what i especially love? i love how the city fined *us*, we got a notice this afternoon, for not having our trash “in the proper receptacle,” which we always do, btw, it’s just that the recycling guys refused to pick up the one bag that wouldn’t fit in our city-approved yellow recycling can last week.

We, of course, will be requesting a hearing about this,I wrote our councilperson and the mayor (i heard they actually read the emails she gets) tonight, but it is a true slap in the face considering how much we actually care about our neighborhood. We’re the ones that shout out our bedroom windows that we’re calling the police when we see our neighbors literally being beaten to a pulp in the middle of the night–without us shouting, they might be dead. (For the record, we called the police. This has happened twice.) We’re the ones that stood with the young mother (who didn’t speak any English) directly in front of our house many months ago that was sucker-punched by a bunch of teenage boys while her two young children were sitting–scared and bewildered–in her car, until the police showed up. We’re the ones with the carbon monoxide detector that, two winters ago, saved the lives of the temporary residents of the once-vacant house next door  (the six men living there were using propane to heat their entire home since they didn’t have power). Look up “Jessica X” and “Holly X” in your 311 records and you’ll see how many times we’ve called about so many different things in our neighborhood. Thus far, I haven’t seen a single thing improve. And now, the icing on the cake: a $50 fine.

as i was taking photos of all the crap out back this afternoon (to attach to the email), i saw one of our neighbors walking up the alley towards me. she’s a rollergirl, seems tough as nails, and she told me about a junkie she saw in the alley this morning, passed out, needle still in her arm. and it’s just like, look. i know all cities have their problems. but some days this place downright sucks. esp. when you’ve put so much of your hard-earned money into renovating a once-crackhouse in a neighborhood that seemed like it was getting better, but instead got a whole lot worse.

i wish i could show you a photo of the front of our house, which is pretty nice, i must say, but alas, the privacy. i promise the alley’s a whole lot worse than the actual street. and i gotta say: our alley’s one of the worst in the neighborhood. i honestly cannot tell you why, but it is. anyway, i wanted to show you. you can hate me now, since you probably barfed up your dinner.

so about my birthday–and sticking with this general grossness theme i’ve got going on tonight–i got a special gift from my parents that arrived today in a truck and a knock on the door:

an exterminator.

yes, i asked my parents for an exterminator for my birthday. (that’s kind of how you know your life is more than a little ridiculous: you ask for an exterminator for your birthday) and they totally got one for me. i was so happy when he (“the orkin man”) showed up. he was very nice–perhaps a bit offbeat, but, from personal experience, i’m going to hypothesize that most probably are–and pretty chatty.

holly likes to study w/the tv on (that’s why i have headphones on right now; marriage is about compromise, right?) so as she was working away on her cute lil netbook, she had a movie going in the background.

“what is that, ‘fools rush in’?” he asked, craning his neck over from the mouse traps he was setting to see the screen.

“yeah,” holly said. “it’s one of my favorites.”

“oh me, too,” he said. “i love that one. you know which one i also love? whassit called…oh, i know,  ‘sweet home alabama!’ that’s a good one. and that actress, whasser name, i don’t know her name…murphy brown, the one that played the new york city mayor? she was spot-on (he was laughing at this point). she was great.”

i knew holly and i were thinking the same thing: our exteminator likes chick flicks??? 

i came thiiiiis close to asking him what he thought of one of our all-time favorites, ‘how to lose a guy in 10 days,’ but stopped myself for fear of embarrassing our surprisingly sensitive exterminator (who picked up a fairly huge rigamortis dead rat outside, placed it in a doubled up safeway bag and put it in his supplybox about five minutes before this) in case i was pushing it too far. (all joking aside, i wanted to know if he liked it.)

anyway, it was probably the best present i could possibly get. aside from things money can’t buy. like being (accidentally) woken up by your partner before the sun’s even up as she’s preparing to leave to get you a triple shot tall soy latte from starbucks, croissant, fresh oj, a bouquet of fall flowers and two cards (one just words, one with music) and present them to you upon her return. (yes, i cried. talk about supersensitive. i just love being loved by her.)

and now i had to ruin this perfectly gross/obnoxious post by getting all sappy. again.

would it make you feel any better if i told you that the honeymoon phase of holly and i both being unemployed and home all day together (except when she’s in class) is over?

how do you know when the honeymoon phase is over, you ask? probably when your partner tells you she’s gonna put you in a “sleeper hold,” which is apparently some kind of dorkyass navy headlock (she was in the navy reserves for 11 years). she thinks it’ll quiet me down. haha. yeah, right, babe. gonna take more than a headlock to quiet my ass down.


“when you’re pregnant, i’m sending you to your parents’ for nine months”


i am apparently one of these when i'm sick. (my fave mug in our kitchen, btw. so funny, right??)

thanks, babe. thanks. i really appreciate that.

if you hadn’t already guessed, it was my lovely unlawfully-wedded partner who said that to me. only days ago. as i lay groaning in bed from a cold/flu type thing, which i undoubtedly must have caught in “room 618,” the room where they can ppl at my former place of work (i must give a shoutout to the ex-colleague/friend that pinpointed where we picked it up; she got it, too. HOLLA!)

so. apparently i’m a bad patient.

“you’re worse than a man!” holly says to me each and every time i get sick. [apparently men are bad patients? she was married before (yes, to a man, and yes, if she lets me i will tell you a little more about that in my book) so i guess she’d know.]

and i’m like (cough, sniffle), “babe! cut me slack! i don’t (cough, gag, etc.)…i don’t feel good!”

“i know you don’t feel good! you tell me every five minutes!” she said sometime over the past few days. ” i swear, woman, when you’re pregnant, i’m sending you to your parents’ for nine months!”

this, despite its ridiculousness (wait, honey, you’re joking right?? right?), made me laugh extremely hard. somehow i don’t think anyone would be ok with this plan except holly.

so yeah. i was sick. in case you were wondering where i was. which you probably weren’t. but still.  

“you probably have swine flu,” my mom said casually to me over the phone on friday.

“mom, i don’t have swine flu,” i said.

“you might. i mean, you probably do. maybe just a mild case. but it’s probably the swine flu.”

a mild case of the swine flu. oh mom. mothers. you know? i know you know. (esp. if you have a jewish mother.)

anyhow, it knocked me flat on my ass from thursday afternoon til today, pretty much. but in a way, it felt kind of good. like, cleansing. like all the bad stuff that built up in me over the past miserable year and a half of my four-year stay at FPOE (former place of employment; i’ll just call it that from now on, much easier) just kind of exploded and now it’s over. it also gave me a chance–more like forced me–to take it easy. tho i like stopping to enjoy, say, a cup of coffee, i so rarely take it truly easy. nothing like a whopper of a cold to force you to slow the hell down.

one thing i started doing again (haven’t done this in a long long time) while i was sick–and something i will continue doing, i am happy to say–is read. i love reading memoirs. especially effed up druggie/rehab/bad childhood memoirs, probably b/c it makes me feel really really ok and normal. [i can thank augusten burroughs, author of “running w/scissors,” (bad bad childhood), “dry” (alcoholism/rehab) and “wolf at the table” (homicidal father; i read the entire thing on saturday)  for my fascination w/these books.] now i’m onto “a million little pieces,” despite all the controvery re: it’s authenticity.

why am i telling you this? i’m telling you b/c as i was calmly, quietly (yes, i can be quiet. sometimes. anyway) reading “a million little pieces” last night (holly, sitting on the floor in front of the couch, was doing homework-type stuff; she’s back in school in case i never mentioned it), we heard a sound. a sound we became all too familiar with over the cold months. a sound that, when i heard it while holly was at school last semester, i swore i thought something was gonna pop outta the damn wall and hiss and bear its teeth at me.

we muted the tv. (we were listening to the radio or something) we heard it again. louder.

we looked at each other, wide-eyed. after a moment we looked at each other again and shrugged.

“it’s probably just a mouse,” i said. nothing we can’t handle. we’ve dealt w/this crap before. if you live in baltimore, esp. in a rowhouse where you share ancient walls with potentially filthy and/or ancient neighbors.

we put the tv back on. the noise started again.

“MUTE THE TEEVEE,” i said in my most loud jewish whisper (you know, the kind you reserve for synogauge when you’re talking about how short someone’s skirt is).

we listened. nothing again. the tv went back on. then we heard the sound louder than we have ever ever heard it. i didn’t need to tell holly to mute it again, she did it w/out me saying a word. we listened, paralyzed with fear. i’m telling you, you guys would have sh*t your pants. the noise came closer
and closer
and closer…

and then…


then we screamed.


“IT’S IN THE VENTILATION!” holly shouted.

“OH MY G-D!” i screamed back, while i turned off the entire hvac (heating/ventilation/air-conditioning) system. well more like i turned it off and then on and them off again while i screamed and jumped up and down and freaked the hell out and shook.

it scurried again some more and stopped.

it probably wasn’t a rat. it probably was a mouse. i mean, who the hell knows. they’ve got to sound louder when they’re in huge industrial-grade metal exposed hvac pipes.  in any case, i’m tired of dealing w/this sh*t on our own. it’s time to bring in the big dogs. it’s time for a serious exterminator b/c i have had it.

i’ve pretty much had it w/everything lately. between the effing rats out back, the mice inside and out, the feral cats (we have caught quite a few; i’ll also leave that for the book) and, oh, i don’t know, witnessing a bunch of guys jump out of a car and kick the living sh*t out of some of our neighbors across the way (we called the police; unfortunately, this wasn’t the first or even the second time we’ve seen something like this go down late at night pretty much in front of our house), and the open-air drug market across the street, i don’t think either one of us is going to last much longer in this city. i’m really starting to lose my cool.

i just…we just. we need a break. you know? we need a goshdarn break.

altho, for the first time in my entire life,  i had to skip rosh hashanah services (over the weekend) b/c i was so sick, i really do feel like we will somehow get a break this year (jewish, i.e. lunar, year) and things will get better.

“bad things come in threes, right?” my mom said over the phone last night when i called to tell her what was going on. “that’s what they say. and then things start getting better.” (tho i must say she doesn’t know the half of it. no one really does save for holly and i)

while we’re way past three (again, the book), i’ve got to hope so. in the meantime, i’m just glad i’m not a disgusting infectious “room 618” mess anymore. i have cleansed myself of my FPOE and i. am ready. to rumble.

mice: 1, us: zero

oh fer cryin out LOUD can you just leave us ALONE?!!!

oh fer cryin out LOUD can you just leave us ALONE?!!!

i really didn’t want to talk too much about this issue but i can’t hold back any longer:

the mice have taken over. they’re holding us hostage in our house. they’re demanding cheese and peanut butter and assorted crumbs and they’re not leaving until they get them.

ok, i’m over-dramatizing things. (they recently freed our hands but we’re still tied to our chairs.)  but it’s bad. we don’t understand where they’re coming from. or how they’re getting in. but it’s like, as soon as you kill one (yes. we kill them. if you have a problem with this, you should probably stop reading now), there’s five more. they don’t care who’s around or visiting or if you’re eating lunch, just reading a book, minding your own business. they scamper right on out onto our bamboo floors as if to say, “eff you. we’re baltimore mice. and even tho we don’t help pay your mortgage, we’re gonna hang around as long as we damn well please so you’d better get used to it and go to hell while you’re at it.”

there’s also a cat (or something big that definitely sounds like it has paws) in the wall and/or ceiling. and it crawls around, esp. at night when holly’s at class, and scares the sh*t outta me. i cannot take any more of this. i. am losing. my mind. [and pul-leeze don’t tell us to get a cat. yeah, we kind of don’t (read: really really don’t) like cats. yes, we’re gay and female in a long-term relationship and we have no cats. neither one of us has ever had a single cat. see? stereotypes were made to be broken. i also don’t own a single pair of boat shoes or chinos. so there.]

the whole situation makes me wonder how i ever EVER had hamsters as pets. they’re RODENTS. mice are rodents, TOO. as are *rats* [oh pls, don’t get me started on baltimore (and DC while we’re at it) and rats] man, i had a patient mother. mice are disgusting and, as i said earlier this weekend, if i could, i’d destroy every single mouse on the planet.

mice, if you’re reading, you’d better watch out. we’re coming for you and it’s gonna get ugly. this is war.